Monday Mornings with Madison

The Highest and Best Use of Your Team, Part 2

Word Count: 1,496
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

The best leaders, managers and entrepreneurs know that a company’s success depends on getting maximum performance from employees.   According to Anne M. Mulcahy, former CEO and chairperson of Xerox and Chief Executive Magazine’s “CEO of the Year” in 2008, “Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral their growth, performance soars.  So how does that happen? Continue reading

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The Highest and Best Use of Your Team, Part 1

Word Count: 1,474
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Is everyone at your company working on tasks that are the highest and best use of their time and talents?  The very best leaders aim for that goal or should.  Still, it is a goal that is a work in progress but one that is highly unlikely to ever be fully achieved.  First, most people do not work at jobs that capitalize on their most valuable skills.  Employees are usually hired to fill a role at a company and perform the tasks related to that job, even if they have extraordinary, untapped skills that could be far more valuable to the organization.   Most employers are not even aware of the hidden talents their employees possess.  But, even when workers are using their most valuable talents on behalf of an organization, it is unlikely that those skills are being applied 100% of the time.  People spend time – sometimes a lot of time — on tasks that are of moderate or low value to the organization.  And, what a person considers the highest and best use of his time and talents may not necessarily align with what others may think or what the company wants and needs from the employee. Continue reading

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Finding Success in Stillness, Part 2

Word Count: 1,326
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ min.

Americans are known worldwide to be workaholics.  We see “doing” and “working hard” as positive behaviors and view increased productivity always as a good thing.  People are rewarded for “getting things done” and “making things happen”.  Busy is good, and overworked is even better.  People who are busy are seen as “movers and shakers” and “rain makers”.  They have hustle and drive.  In fact, Americans work among the most hours of any advanced country in the world, except for South Korea and Japan, where they actually invented a word for dying at work.  (Karoshi means death from overwork.)  What’s more, this obsession with “being busy” is on the rise.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American works about one month more a year than we did in 1976. Continue reading

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Finding Success in Stillness, Part 1

Word Count: 1,326
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ min.

The world is in a perpetual tizzy of activity.  There is always so much to do.  Do this.  Do that.  Go… go… go.  We buzz around with never-ending to-do lists and ever-increasing workloads.  Managers are constantly looking at how to increase workplace productivity.  We praise workaholics and celebrate when worker bees are so busy that they don’t have a moment’s rest. Continue reading

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Is Your Brand Message a Rallying Cry for your Company? Part 2 – Crafting Taglines, Slogans and Mottos that Stick

Word Count: 1,487
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Give A Company’s Brand Messaging a Boost

Is there a commercial or ad for a product that is particularly memorable?  Who can forget the funny Wendys’ commercial in which a little old lady opened the buns on her burger and yelled “Where’s the beef?” as she searched for the tiny meat patty.   Or the BandAid jingle in which a kid in a bathtub sang “I am stuck on band-aid brand cause BandAid’s stuck on me”.  Whether it is a slogan, tagline, jingle, motto, headline or strapline, all brand messaging needs to shoot for maximum impact.  It also needs to be catchy and memorable, part of which comes from connecting with the customer in some way.  It might be because it rhymes.  It might be from repetition.  It might be through humor.  Ultimately, though, all brand messaging should unite in telling a story.  But creating brand messaging that tells a cohesive story and is also clever or catchy and memorable is not as easy as it sounds.  There are, however, some tips that can help guide the process. Continue reading

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Is Your Brand Message a Rallying Cry for your Company?

Word Count: 1,436
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Part I – Distinguishing between a Tagline, Slogan, Motto and Strapline

Message Matters Most

Companies spend a lot of time and money trying to perfect their brand.  Logo.  Font.  Colors.  Patterns.  Style Guides.  Brand DNAs.  Mission.  Vision.  Brand promises.  Brand differentiators.  For good reason.  In today’s super-crowded global marketplace, it takes powerful branding to cut through the noise.  If your brand is bland, boring or unclear, then it is just that much harder to break through the din, stand out in the crowd and be noticed.  And is nearly impossible to be remembered. Continue reading

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Getting Employees to Board the “Change Train”

Word Count: 1,214
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

How to Get Employees to Embrace Change

Changes come in all sizes, from minor adjustments to total overhauls.  For businesses, most changes tend to be small, incremental adjustments.  Update the accounting software.  Expand the sales team.  Lease additional space.  Go paperless.  Add social media links to the corporate signature block.  Revise the project management process.   Start blogging.  These changes have an impact, but overall it can be managed through training, technology and time. Continue reading

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Navigating Workplace Negativity

Is there a Negative Nancy, Glum Gus or Pessimistic Peter bringing down your entire workplace?  This negative ninny focuses on the bad to the exclusion of all positive aspects, engaging in “all or nothing” thinking,  blaming others, and allowing anger to cause a breakdown in communication.  This can happen in any work environment.  It can be coming from a supervisor, employee or customer.  These detrimental behaviors can become typical if workplace negativity is allowed to spiral out of control unchecked.

What’s more, a workplace environment that is charged with negative electricity has an adverse effect on every employee. Time is squandered on petty gossip and caustic complaints.  Innovative ideas are shot down by naysayers.  Company loyalty is affected by the negative chatter.  It erodes spirits and quashes enthusiasm.  With a low morale and divided loyalties, it becomes very hard for employees to work together to service their customers.  Thus, consumers are also affected by the decreased productivity brought about through negative attitudes.  It is a workplace behavior that benefits no one. Continue reading

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The Importance of Organizational Confidence

Word Count: 1,653
Estimated Read Time: 6 1/2 min.

Organizational Confidence:  Fact or Myth

Confidence is one of those vague traits that is hard to define but you know when you see it.  It is a characteristic that some have but many others lack.  But, without a doubt, it is a quality everyone desires to have both professionally and personally.  If confidence is an attribute generally associated with people, can companies possess it?   Is there really such a thing as Organizational Confidence? Continue reading

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Why Many Overachievers, Rising Stars and Go Getters feel like Imposters

Word Count: 1,457
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Exposing Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is a condition experienced secretly — and often with deep fear and shame — by many super stars, high achievers and workaholics.  People who suffer from Imposter Syndrome are plagued with pervasive feelings of insecurity, self-doubt and being unworthy.  Behind a façade of success, they feel like fakes, playacting roles but believing deep down that they lack genuine skill, talent or qualifications.  Inside, they have adopted a ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ attitude, all the while hoping no one will discover “the truth”. Continue reading

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